Cecil residents hold vigil for Orlando victims
jbellmyer@ cecilwhig. com
— A candlelight vigil was held Monday night on the grounds of Rodgers Tavern to honor the victims of the mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub.
The early Sunday morning shooting by a lone gunman killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in what many are calling the worst terrorist attack on American soil since 9/ 11. Investigators report that Omar Mateen, 29, pledged allegiance to the Islamic
State of Iraq and Syria, an overseas terrorist group, during the targeted attack at The Pulse.
Kevin Miksis, with Mason Dixon Pro- Tainment, said he felt he had to do something to express the communal shock and grief felt around the country. He considered chartering a bus to take a group to a vigil held Monday night in Philadelphia. However, the short notice made making arrangements tough.
“I saw posts that people would go, but didn’t want to go to the city,” Miksis said. “I had to do some- thing.”
So Miksis instead got permission from Perr yville to hold a Cecil County vigil at Rodgers Tavern. Turnout was small, but the people there were passionate about their attendance.
Valda Rotolo said this tragedy “hurts my heart.”
“As a mom, I can’t imagine the hurt these moms are feeling,” Rotolo said. “My heart breaks for these people. People need to care.”
David Hastings Jr., from
Havre de Grace, said places such as The Pulse, a gay nightclub, are usually safe havens for the gay community.
“A gay bar is not just a place to drink. It’s not having to worry about being judged,” he said. “For someone to target that blows my mind.”
Erin Belote said that since the attack she has been revolted by an increase in homophobic comments.
“The disgusting things being said, and the laughing,” Belote, from Rising Sun, said, adding she has family members and friends who are gay and could have easily been among the dead and wounded.
“We are Orlando too,” Belote said in a show of solidarity.
Hastings agreed, adding that there are never jokes made A candlelight vigil was held Monday night at Rodgers Tavern in Perryville to remember the dead and pray for the injured in a mass shooting at The Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando. There was also a request to remember first responders who had to tend to the victims.
about the 9/ 11 attack that killed nearly 2,800 people. He also bemoaned the selfish attitude he
finds per vasive in the country.
“There is no more holding your hand out to help someone
else,” Hastings said.
Representing Perr yville, Commissioner Michelle Linkey and town administrator Denise Breder joined the vigil.
“We all grieve in different ways,” Linkey said, thanking Miksis for giving people this outlet.
Breder encouraged the vigil audience to pray for the families affected and for the hurt to have a full recovery.
Rotolo also urged those at the vigil to remember the first responders. She recalled reading a news report about police and paramedics being torn apart by hearing the incessant ringing of cellphones in the pockets on the deceased as family and friends tried to reach them.
After lighting candles, reading the names of the dead aloud and sharing their thoughts on the horrific events, Miksis closed the vigil with a note of caution.
“We never expected 9/ 11. We never expected this. This is more than a tragedy. It’s an absolute tragedy,” Miksis said.
Brenda Waddell takes a photos of Yvanna Bright in her classroom as the two second-grade teachers toured the renovated Perryville Elementary School on Friday. The building on Maywood Avenue has been closed for the past two years.